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National trends offer some clues in ultra-competitive renewal

| 23.12.2013

This year’s Welsh National is one of the most competitive in its 57-year history and so to aid our approach to the daunting task of predicting the outcome it may pay to adhere to a few rules.

Fans of the biggest meeting in Wales are used to their favourite race being rearranged or postponed but much fewer are accustomed to seeing the winner being near the top or bottom of the weights.

In the last 16 years, no horse has captured the race having carried less than 10-01, while only two have managed to seal victory shouldering more than 11-00 – and one of those was Synchronised – who swept to victory in the Gold Cup a season later.

As a result, from the first 21 horses priced 20/1 or below the following must be eliminated:

Hawkes Point (10-0),Teaforthree (11-2),De La Beach (9-5),Vintage Star (10-0),Alfie Sherrin (9-11),Boyfromnowhere (9-6),Mountainous (9-9),Ace High (9-9),Amigo (9-12),Global Power (9-5),Knock A Hand (10-0), One In A Milan (9-3) and Unoccupied (8-11).

Stalwarts of the Chepstow track will also be unfamiliar with horses aged nine or older taking the prize, with only two horses, both aged nine crossing the line in front in back in 2002 and 2003 in the last ten years.

With this logic, ante-post favourite backers will be unhappy as the 7/1 jolly is the nine-year-old Well Refreshed, while Colin Tizzard’s Hey Big Spender, who is a year older, looks to have it all to do.

Despite many of the leading chances now having lines through them there are still many who do fit the criteria and it may well pay to wait nearer to the day to decide between them.

Ground change, market support and late withdrawals can all have a major impact on the pre-race complexion and while the rules above are destined to be broken again, hopefully it won’t be this year.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster